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Ricky’s picks for Day 3 of the Australian Open, including Nadal vs. McDonald

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev remain on a collision course for the Australian Open quarterfinals and they will be back in action on Wednesday. Nadal awaits Mackenzie McDonald, while Medvedev faces John Millman.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Mackenzie McDonald

Nadal survived what was always going to be a tough test in the form of Jack Draper on Day 1 at the Australian Open. Draper was neck and neck with the top seed through two sets, but the 21-year-old Brit predictably wore down physically in a best-of-five situation and Nadal prevailed 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. That marked the 36-year-old Spaniard’s first win of the season, as he had previously compiled a 0-2 record at the United Cup (three-set losses to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur).

Up next for Nadal on Wednesday is a second career meeting with McDonald. Their only previous encounter came at the 2020 French Open, where Nadal cruised 6-1, 6-0, 6-3. A hard court will obviously give McDonald a much better chance, but a four-hour and two-minute struggle with fellow American Brandon Nakashima on Monday is not ideal preparation (McDonald survived 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-7(10), 6-4). Don’t be surprised if this is similar to Nadal’s first match, with the underdog staying competitive for a while before fading late.

Pick: Nadal in 4

John Millman vs. (7) Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev and Millman will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Wednesday. A battle with Medvedev at one his favorite tournaments just one round following a grueling five-setter is probably not what the doctor ordered for Millman. The 33-year-old Australian outlasted Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-3 on Monday, needing four hours and five minutes to advance.

Although Medvedev has not been in peak form dating back to the end of last year’s Australian Open, a return Down Under with lower expectations may be a recipe for instant success. The world No. 8 is 4-0 so far this season and 4-0 against opponents not named Novak Djokovic. A back-to-back runner-up at Melbourne Park, Medvedev was simply ruthless in round one and improved to 13-2 in his last 15 matches at this event by destroying a previously in-form Marcos Giron 6-0, 6-1, 6-2. Unfortunately for the home crowd, this has all the makings of another beatdown.

Pick: Medvedev in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.